Around 4,500 jobs are at risk at bookmaker William Hill after it announced plans to axe 700 betting shops across the UK.
The group warned a “large number of redundancies” are expected and it has begun consultation meetings with the 4,500 affected staff.
Shop closures are due to start by the end of the year.
William Hill blamed the closures on the Government’s decision to slash the maximum stake on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOTBs) to £2 in April, which has hammered bookmakers’ sales.
On its store closure plans, the group said:
This follows the Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake on B2 gaming products to £2 on 1 April 2019.
“Since then the company has seen a significant fall in gaming machine revenues, in line with the guidance given when the Government’s decision was announced in May 2018.”